This is my mom in Chicago, at a cafe, in March 2012. I was asked to do a reading at AWP, so Mama and I took the train and stayed in a hostel and explored the city together. We bought knitted hats with knitted flowers– she’s wearing hers in this photo, mind is red with a grey flower.
This is my mom working on her final painting in late December 2012. She painted and drew a little after this, but this was her last finished painting. I have so many pictures in my head just like this, Mama in her overalls, a fuzzy hat, paint all over her clothes and the furniture moved out of the way, drop cloths on the floor. She had a “working face” that was serious and funny all at once. She would squint her eyes, purse her mouth, looking at the person or thing she was painting but also looking through it to the other world, the one she saw with light and shadows. Colors are just made of light.
When Mama started snow-painting (her winter sport) she talked about the specific “winter light.” There are so many colors in those greys and whites. I’m looking out the window here by my desk and I can see all these greys in the sky, and the blues, greens, peaches mixed in, so faintly. The dark branches with thin twisty twigs against the glowing light of this winter sky. Now, on these long winter days which seem like they will never end, I can see how beautiful they really are. I know Mama’s up there painting that sky for us.